For some of the Cebuano faithful, it was Divine Providence that cushioned the brunt of typhoon Pablo’s arrival in Cebu, sparing residents of multiple deaths and devastation experienced in Mindanao.
The storm may have skirted the metropolis, but reports of damage are coming in from the far south of the island with a different story.
Nature showed its violence in the sudden rush of huge waves, the likes of which Boljoon town 103 kilometers away, hadn’t seen in decades.
Alarmed residents thought a tsunami had reached its shores. The storm surge cast waves bigger than houses and left Boljoon’s seaside park in ruins. The decorative lamps, riprap and promenade sustained heavy damage.
Waves entered the municipal hall and eroded chunks of the national highway.
It’s a devastating blow to the lovely town, which is a proud heritage site of Cebu, recognized as the host of the province’s oldest remaining stone church which was already declared a national cultural treasure by the National Museum.
The church itself was spared damage, and was an instant refuge for several families during the typhoon.
One of Cebu’s three storm-related deaths was in Boljoon town , where a woman walking in a field was crushed by a falling coconut tree.
Perhaps some caution –– and sensitivity – are needed in claiming special blessings in the face of a typhoon that has racked up a body count of over 210 deaths that is still rising in Mindanao.
It’s difficult to say the Sto. Niño spared Cebu because he loves Cebuanos, when you reckon that the rest of the country deserves the Holy Child’s protection as well.
Weather forcasts said Pablo is supposed to reach Palawan by this morning and will likely exit the country by Friday or Saturday.
The clear sunny skies in Cebu will soon prompt the Coast Guard to lift its order grounding vessels while airports gradually lift the the ban on flights.
Metro Cebu officials can be commended for acting faster than usual in preparing for a big storm. Decisions to suspend classes and start preventive evacuations were made early, all keyed on advance weather data from Pagasa.
As assessment reports shape up, let’s keep the memory of Sendong, Ondoy and Ruping in mind to sharpen community action about being prepared to survive a calamity.
Companies and schools can include emergency drills and safety seminars in their year-round program. First-aid kits and hotline numbers should be a fixture in homes. Evacuation centers should be ready for use at moment’s notice.
With climate change as the new normal, we have to be prepared for Nature’s wrath.
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